Published February 26, 2018
WINDOW ROCK – For the first time ever, the Treaty of 1868 will come to the Navajo Nation Museum this coming June. But this 150-year-old document comes with a price and during Friday’s Navajo Nation Council special session, lawmakers approved a bill requesting supplemental funding of $350,000 from the Undesignated, Unreserved Fund Balance.
In order for the exhibit to occur the museum must deconstruct all existing exhibits in their five galleries to make room for the new display. It will not only house the original treaty in a secure case, but will include detailed information about Navajo history such as the Emergence story, the Long Walk, Navajo government and the Navajo Code Talkers.
“This money will go toward design, create, build and promote several major exhibits detailing the vast history of our people and specifically, the critical document,” according to the bill. “Funding will mean temporary employment/income for our people, to include researchers, designers, builders, cultural consultants, laborers and artists.”
On Feb. 9, Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye, Vice President Jonathan Nez, Speaker LoRenzo Bates, and newly appointed Chief Justice JoAnn Jayne signed a proclamation recognizing 2018 as, “The Year of Naaltsoos Sání” or “The Year of the Treaty” (literally, “Old Paper”). “We feel this year of the treaty is such an honor, such an important time for our people and it’s going to force a lot of reflection,” said Manuelito Wheeler, Navajo Nation Museum director.
“All three branches worked on this proclamation and there was a lot of input from all three. It wasn’t easy, a lot of crafting and wordsmith.”
Editor’s Note: This article was first published in the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reservd.
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